Principles of the New SEO

Oct 15, 2012

Yaron Galai writing for the AdAge.com:

[…] Google is going to flip SEO on its head. If Old SEO enabled some to fool a crawler into indexing borderline junk content to get high rankings, New SEO looks likely to take any notion of fooling anyone out of the equation. […]

With New SEO, the pendulum is finally swinging back to favoring humans over crawlers. The New SEO rules point directly back to what was valued in the traditional print-dominated days – content will not be a mechanism to convert clicks but a tool to boost awareness, increase overall engagement and offer opportunities to connect with a quality audience. And the “customer” that content is tailored for will no longer be SEO bots […], as the New SEO favors the true end-user: the reader.

Sounds like the New SEO is heading where UX has been all along.

PC market vs. tablet market

Oct 14, 2012

Interesting comments from Horace Dediu on the decline of the PC industry and the phenomenal growth of the tablet market.

Dediu questions various analysts, who despite the fact that the buying conditions are exactly the same for both PCs and tablets, notoriously blame the economy, the rate of innovation or some other challenges that apparently dampen the PC sales.

Horace Dediu explains:

My hypothesis is that the new products are solving new jobs for the users and those new solutions are trumping any “softness” in demand. In other words, an upgrade to an over-serving product will be deferred at the slightest excuse while an installation of an under-serving product that attacks an unsolved problem will be rationalized no matter the circumstances.

One product will be met with “Why should we buy it?” and the other by “Why shouldn’t we buy it?”

Disrupted

Oct 13, 2012

Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation (from Wikipedia):

  1. Established companies are usually aware of the innovations, but their business environment does not allow them to pursue them when they first arise, because they are not profitable enough. […] Firm’s existing value networks place insufficient value on the disruptive innovation.

  2. Meanwhile, start-up firms inhabit different value networks, at least until the day that their disruptive innovation is able to invade the older value network.

  3. At that time, the established firm in that network can at best only fend off the market share attack with a me-too entry, for which survival is the only reward.

Does this sound like RIM, Microsoft, Dell or HP to you?

The Illusion of Life

Oct 10, 2012

Ryan Woodward on animation:

The Illusion of Life. This is where it’s at. […]

If the movement doesn’t help the viewer to believe that this character or object has life, then by definition, it’s not animation. That is the distinction between motion graphics and animation. Animation is hard to accomplish.

Bonus: briliant short 2-d animation by Ryan Woodward - Thought of You.

Via Steven Scott (@stv_scott).

Ken Cato on creativity and understanding

Oct 10, 2012

When I tackle projects, the battle is not the creative thing; the battle is to keep the mind open until you fully understand the exercise. A lot of designers hear the brief and make very quick assumptions. I think the longer you can hold that open, the more chance outside influences and experiences will come into play.

Via iconic logo designers.

More on solving problems

Sep 25, 2012

Dwayne Spradlin writing for Harvard Business Review:

“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” Albert Einstein said.

Those were wise words, but from what I have observed, most organizations don’t heed them when tackling innovation projects. Indeed, when developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren’t sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they’re attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important. Without that rigor, organizations miss opportunities, waste resources, and end up pursuing innovation initiatives that aren’t aligned with their strategies. How many times have you seen a project go down one path only to realize in hindsight that it should have gone down another? How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem? Many organizations need to become better at asking the right questions so that they tackle the right problems.

People in various fields have their own unique way of framing this issue. In medicine, strategy, data, design, advertising or innovation - it seems that the biggest challenge isn’t finding a solution, but true understanding of a problem.

General consensus also agrees that deeper understanding leads to better, more powerful, more elegant and easier to implement solutions.

There’s also an agreement that people are more likely to start solving before they search what the problem is.

"Predatory Thinking" and Nokia

Sep 21, 2012

David Trott1 Julian Williams has some interesting (albeit not very insightful) thoughts in his Nokia’s marketing masterstroke:

Nokia launched the Nokia Lumia 920 recently. Before it was available to buy.

Their share price went down. They couldn’t even give firm delivery dates and carrier details.

But they knew what they were doing.

Really?

I agree that “they knew what they were doing”, providing that’s the only thing they could do given the mess they are in. But that’s not marketing brilliance worth praising, that’s desperation. Essentially a drowning company desperately reaching out for tactics they otherwise wouldn’t contemplate. I would hardly describe that as “out-appleing Apple”.

Nokia has put itself in the position, whereby for the coming few months “wait” is all they can sell. Now that the iPhone 5 is out, Nokia can’t really say out loud how good or different their products are, because the new Lumias simply don’t yet exist. They’ve got absolutely nothing to fight with.

More importantly though, by pre-announcing the Lumia 920 they hit the brakes on their current handset sales. They will lose the revenue sales over this launch-to-release period.

Then came the iPhone 5 launch a day ago. And every technical specification was compared to the latest phone launches. Because Nokia launched first, it became the phone of choice for comparison.

And what happened? All the journalists from around the world pulled on the Nokia 920 as a benchmark.

It won on every technical point.

And Nokia are now getting marketed via Apple. For free.

Because the journalists couldn’t get away from the fact the Nokia Lumia 920 is a better, more powerful, more innovative phone.

As I said previously, this is definitely not a free ride, and let’s hope this doesn’t cost Nokia more than revenue.

I agree that most journalists will focus on the stand-out features. After all, what else can they do when they haven’t used the actual product? I’m sure Nokia got some buzz because of that. But should this desire for media attention decide what features a product should have? Is ticking a few extra boxes with journalists a real win for Nokia?

Here’s the real world test to see if a particular feature should be implemented: a feature 1) must be used, and 2) must be valued.

This makes me think that Nokia really believes that NFC will be quickly adopted by the masses. But is NFC a real problem worth solving right now?

As for wireless charging, I must admit, when I first saw the video I was intrigued. But when I started thinking about possible scenarios of how and where I use my charger cables and docks, I’m really not convinced. I think it’s a cool feature, but in terms of the actual every day usage, my guess is that Nokia charging pads will be gathering dust after the first few weeks.

Then there’s the performance. I don’t know how high the new Lumia 920 will rank on the performance charts (and neither does David Trott Julian Williams), but judging by its predecessor the Lumia 900 (only released about 6 months ago), the outlook isn’t all that promising.

Again, I really can’t see how Nokia deserves praise here. Burning energy, wasting time on the features that play well with the media, but people won’t use or appreciate is not a good thing when the clock is ticking.

I really think that Nokia is a brilliant and iconic brand of our times, and it’s a crying shame that it’s fading away. But what gets me the most is that it’s fading away on its own command. Can you imagine what they could achieve if they stopped wasting time on stupid things?

So, through a masterstroke of predatory thinking, Nokia has won the first round in this heavyweight smartphone brawl.

Not only in the eyes of the journalists. But in those of iPhone users too.

And that’s a bullseye!

I’m not going comment on what makes an iPhone user look elsewhere, but it seems to me that the first round, in every way possible, goes to Apple. After all, what is marketing without real results?

Lastly, I don’t really know what “Predatory Thinking” is, but I do know what “out-apple Apple” isn’t. Nokia has a long way to go to make a dent.


  1. I assume that David Trott is the author of the article because of the very distinct writing style, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

You didn't invent anything

Sep 04, 2012

I like to think making things is more than simply mixing ingredients.

Otherwise, journalism is just words on a page, art is nothing more than paints and brushes, cooking is simply putting vegetables and meat in a pot, management just making decisions and design just shapes and materials.

Who are you trying to please?

Aug 31, 2012

Seth Godin in his article Advertising’s bumpy transition has a few interesting thoughts on what sets priorities of today’s web media. Quite frankly, the bottom line is this:

Since advertising is paying for a big portion of the consumer web, it’s being built to please advertisers. Right now, though, what advertisers are used to buying isn’t what the web is good at building.

Thing is, that as a result of building a product solely for users, advertisers will get a more popular, engaging and attractive platform. In other words - to please advertisers, focus on users.

By shaping your product to please advertisers first, you will disenchant and eventually loose users. And when that happens, advertisers will follow.

Two kinds of customers

Aug 29, 2012

Most online media define their customers like this:

  1. Users
  2. Advertisers

Both groups are important, but to know which one should really have an influence on the shape of your product, you should understand how the two groups are related.

To do this, try this simple exercise - imagine for a minute what would happen to one of the groups, if the other one dropped by 90% for a month.

If users go elsewhere, the advertisers will leave, and won’t come back. Conversely, when advertisers go missing, users don’t really notice and because there’s less distraction and pages load faster, their engagement actually goes up.

If that’s the case, shouldn’t users be the only audience that influences the shape of your product?